Monday, July 27, 2009

Is this on topic?

I struggled with posting this, because as the title says, this blog is about children, nature and play. But as education involves kids, hey, it's a shoe-in.

Sir Ken Robinson gives an insightful talk on TED about schools killing creativity. Fantastic.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ooooh, murder linked to lack of play?

Now that's an interesting subject link. I mean, I like Miss Marple as much as the next person, but I never saw her coming to her conclusions of who the killer was by finding out who had repressed play during childhood. But back then, it wasn't such a problem, lack of play, I mean.....

Author Stuart Brown, of The National Institute for Play, in California, has collected a lot of solid anecdotal evidence of the value of play, including a pilot study of young murderers throughout the state of Texas. An interview with him is here, Play Author Stuart Brown: Why Playtime Matters to Kids' Health and Brains.

Check out the related news section at the bottom of the interview, some interesting links. Plus, he has a talk on TED.

Right Brainers

This may seem an unusual subject for this blog but if Daniel Pink is right, (A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers will rule the Future) we are not going to have any right brainers to rule the future.

He considers the 6 critical aptitudes for success as a right brainer to be: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning.

If play is not a necessary part of our children's lives, then we are not investing in their future.

Crisis in the Kindergarten

Here is a great article, from the New York Times, for anyone interested in Kindergarten and the homework issue. Why do we seem to be in such a hurry to educate our children, when all reports point to any advantages fading by fourth grade anyway. It appears that what they have missed out on, though, is play.......... back to that old chestnut again, I know. I won't be changing that record anytime soon........Kindergarten Cram.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ahhhh, Persil, a name from my past.

As an expat from the UK living in Los Angeles, the name Persil takes me back to supermarkets in London, launderettes in Leicester and home.

The wonderful detergent people are launching an "every child has the right" campaign this summer, aimed at helping parents to get their children involved in unstructured "free" play. Their commercial is really great, Dirt is Good. As is their website, Persil.

How did we get here?

Kathryn Solly, principal of the Chelsea Open Air nursery in the UK, said in an article on the Children and Nature Network website, “There was a withdrawal from the outside, and now we have children who don’t develop their lung and heart capacity and are sometimes obese. We’ve created a problem for ourselves that now we’ve got to find a solution for”. Outdoor Preschools Gain Notice in UK

In the space of two generations, we have ended up here......

Los Angeles Schools and Urban Gardens

It seems that the current trend of growing your own has, wonderfully, encouraged Schools Districts to get in on the act.

"The Environmental Media Association (EMA), Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and sponsor Yes To Carrots, a natural personal care brand, have launched an ongoing partnership to support organic gardens and greenery in urban schools across Los Angeles. EMA will directly support a number of school gardens through funding and celebrity mentoring via EMA’s Young Hollywood Board. Yes To Carrots will support the campaign through its non-profit Yes To Carrots Seed Fund, which helps underserved communities to develop self-sustaining, organic food sources."

It can only be a good thing, judging from the current condition of many, if not all, school yards in Los Angeles. They are bleak places, that only encourage truancy, bullying and graffiti. Check it out here. EMA.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Where do the children play?

Michigan PBS produced and aired this documentary.

Where Do the Children Play? is a one-hour documentary for public television that examines how restrictive patterns of sprawl, congestion, and endless suburban development across America are impacting children's mental and physical health and development.

Here's a link for more information, Where do the children play? Maybe it is being shown in your area, if not, the DVD and an accompanying book are available here, A Place to Play.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

24th Street School

Here's a video of an amazing school yard in Los Angeles. They transformed their boring asphalt playground and now have fruits and vegetables growing. What a great way to connect children and nature........ follow the link here. 24th Street School.